Photo: Ford

Obviously, if you steal a car, you’re bad. But if you accidentally steal it and then return it, are you still as bad? This very thing happened to a Canadian man 21 years ago and he’s been feeling the guilt ever since.

The story, reported by Canada’s CBC, recounts the tale of Kevin Freedman from Winnipeg. Here’s how it went down.

When Freedman was 17 in the August of 1998, he was a lifeguard and swim instructor. While on break one day, he needed to run an errand from work but he didn’t have a car anymore because he’d hit a cow in his while on the highway the previous month (as you do).

So, his colleague Jocelyne McKie let him borrow her car so that he could fetch everyone Slurpees for a hot summer’s day. The car, as Freedman remembers on Twitter, was a “a light colored Ford Taurus, which at that time was about every third car on the road.”

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He continued, “I saw a light colored Ford Taurus immediately out the front door as I left the pool and assumed it was hers. It had leopard print interior and flashy big sunglasses, which fit with my co-worker’s personality. I put the key in the of ignition and while it didn’t work the first time I turned it, it did the second time. So I had no idea that it wasn’t actually my co-worker’s car.”

Freedman made a few stops that afternoon and the car kept him problems when unlocking and starting up. But it still always managed to drive eventually.

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His errands finally finished a couple of hours later, he gave the car back to McKie, worried that he had damaged it somehow. She said things were probably fine.

The next day, he came back to work and saw the Taurus still in the lot from where he’d left it the day before. Thinking that he’d broken it so badly that it was undriveable, he apologized to McKie. She said that she didn’t leave her car, but she did say that “When you were gone yesterday somebody reported a car stolen.”

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As CBC tells it, McKie said, “I remember feeling panicked and a bit spooked about that because I was quite the goody-two-shoes ... So you can imagine that I was quite freaked out about this stolen car thing. It was very spooky that you could take a key and you could unlock a car and then drive it, a completely different car.”

From the story:

Freedman says McKie told him shortly after he left, a woman in her 20s walked out of the pool and reported her car stolen to staff. She wanted to report it to the police but didn’t know her licence plate, so went home. She showed up the next day with police and found her car, apparently untouched.

“They found the car in the exact same spot she left it with the windows up, no sign of forced entry, nothing missing out of the car. And so the police thought that she might have been a little nuts and she maybe thought that she was a little bit off.”

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This is a story that Freedman has shared with friends over the years and recently he’s come forward with it, even taking to Twitter to get the word out and find whoever that other Taurus belonged to.

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“I want to find her now, 21 years later, to tell her she was right all along and that someone temporarily (and accidentally) borrowed her car,” Freedman wrote. “Have you ever heard the other side of the story? Do you know this person? Help me find her!”

Seems like Freedman’s mistake was truly an honest one. I’ve caught members of my friends and family going up to cars in parking lots they thought were ours until they were corrected. Once, my cousin went up some other W203-generation C-Class in a parking lot, found the door unlocked and was about to climb in when we pointed out that our car was actually one aisle over. It happens!

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But driving away and completing and entire afternoon’s worth of errands in someone else’s car? That’s a new one for sure.

Really, I applaud Freedman for coming forward because he doesn’t want the poor woman to feel like she was crazy all those years ago. Now if only the person who stole my friend’s iPhone out of my other friend’s house in 2008 would come forward, I can finally put one of my own mysteries to rest.

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We never did find that phone.

You can read the rest of the CBC story here.

via Reddit